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Carolina BBQ Sauce -A Mustard-Based Barbecue Sauce Recipe

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Get ready to savor the rich, smoky flavors of the South with our Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce recipe. Originating from the heart of Carolina barbecue culture, this golden-hued sauce is a cherished tradition that combines tangy, sweet, and savory notes to create a taste sensation that’s hard to resist. We’re going to show you how to whip up this mustard-based bbq sauce in your own kitchen, allowing you to bring the magic of Carolina barbecue to your next backyard cookout or family dinner.

Jar of Carolina BBQ sauce.

If you are a fan of tangy barbecue sauces like Alabama White Sauce, then you’re in for a treat with Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce. While Alabama White Sauce boasts its own unique creamy and zesty profile, Carolina Gold takes you on a different yet equally delicious journey through Southern barbecue traditions.

The bold combination of zesty mustard, vinegar, sweetness, and aromatic spices in Carolina Gold creates a flavor profile that’s both tangy and sweet, making this sweet sauce a perfect complement to your barbecue dishes. Whether you’re a devoted barbecue enthusiast or just looking to explore the rich and diverse world of Southern sauces, you should try this tangy sauce.

We may not know all the differences between the various types of Carolina bbq sauces, but we do know good bbq when we try it. The smoky aroma, the tender, flavorful meat, and the mouthwatering sauces all come together to create a barbecue experience that goes beyond geographical boundaries. So, regardless of whether it’s Eastern, Western, or Gold Carolina BBQ, we can all agree that a well-crafted sauce and delicious BBQ are a match made in heaven.

What is Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce?

Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce, often referred to simply as “Carolina Gold,” is a distinct and cherished barbecue sauce variety originating from the southern United States, particularly the state of South Carolina. This unique sauce stands out for its bright golden color and a flavor profile that combines tanginess, sweetness, and a touch of heat. Here are the key components of Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce:

  1. Mustard Base: The defining characteristic of Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce is its use of yellow mustard as the primary base ingredient. This mustard base gives the sauce its vibrant golden color and a zesty, slightly tangy flavor. [We recommend using ordinary yellow mustard (think about the type of mustard you find at a ballpark), but in a pinch, you could use Dijon mustard. But it will have a different flavor profile.
  2. Vinegar: Like many other Carolina sauces, vinegar plays a crucial role in balancing the flavors. While the mustard provides a base tanginess, vinegar adds an additional layer of acidity and depth to the sauce. We recommend that you use apple cider vinegar, but you can also use regular white vinegar in this recipe.
  3. Sweetness: Carolina Gold sauce typically incorporates sweetness in the form of sugar, honey, or molasses. This sweetness counterbalances the tartness of the mustard and vinegar, resulting in a well-rounded flavor profile. This recipe uses a combination of honey and brown sugar to achieve that perfect balance, infusing the sauce with a rich, caramel-like sweetness.
  4. Spices: Various spices and seasonings are used to enhance the complexity of the sauce. Common additions include black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. These spices contribute a hint of heat and a savory undertone to the sauce. We use hot sauce to add an extra layer of heat and depth to the flavor profile. Feel free to use your favorite brand. Texas Pete and Tobasco are good hot sauce options.

Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce is especially popular as a condiment for barbecue dishes like pulled pork, ribs, and grilled chicken. It’s known for its versatility and ability to complement a wide range of smoked and grilled meats. While it’s most closely associated with South Carolina, you can find variations and adaptations of Carolina Gold sauce in different parts of the United States, each with its unique twist on this classic mustard-based barbecue sauce.

Let’s take a look at how to make it, shall we?

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Ingredients to make Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce.

Homemade Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce Recipe

In a medium saucepan, whisk together yellow mustard, apple cider vinegar, honey, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce.

Yellow mustard, apple cider vinegar, honey, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce in a pot.

Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally.

Add garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, black pepper, and salt to the sauce. Continue to simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to allow the flavors to meld and the sauce to thicken slightly.

Seasonings on top of mustard bbq sauce base in a pot.

Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning and hot sauce according to your preference.

Mustard bbq sauce being whisked in a pot.

Once the sauce has reached the desired consistency and flavor, remove it from the heat and let it cool.

Transfer the Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce to a clean, airtight jar or bottle.

How To Store Homemade BBQ Sauce

Before storing barbecue sauce, allow it to cool to room temperature. Label the container and store it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. For longer storage, you can also freeze Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce for up to six months. Allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

Before using stored BBQ sauce, inspect it for any signs of spoilage, such as an off smell, mold growth, or unusual changes in texture or color. If you notice any of these signs, discard the sauce.

Carolina BBQ Sauce being poured on top of a pulled chicken sandwich.

Recipe Notes and Tips

To make the barbecue sauce sweeter, add more honey. Start by adding a teaspoon or two, then taste and adjust. Honey will not only sweeten the sauce but also balance out the acidity of the vinegar.

For a thicker sauce, you can simmer it for a bit longer over low heat, allowing some of the liquid to evaporate and the sauce to reduce. If it is too thick, you can thin sauce by adding a bit of liquid. Water or vinegar are good choices for this purpose. Start by adding a small amount, such as a tablespoon at a time, and stir well. Continue to add liquid until you reach your desired consistency. Keep in mind that the sauce will thicken further as it cools, so it’s a good practice to slightly under-thin it if you plan to use it later.

If you like your sauce on the “tangy” side, you can increase the amount of apple cider vinegar. Start by adding an extra tablespoon or two at a time, then taste and adjust until you achieve your desired level of tanginess.

If you are a fan of all things spicy, you can adjust the level of heat in this recipe. As written, this sauce isn’t very spicy. However, if you are looking for some heat simply add more hot sauce. Start with a small amount and taste as you go, gradually increasing until you reach your desired level of heat. You can increase the heat even more by adding red pepper flakes.

Like many barbecue sauces, Carolina Gold benefits from sitting for a while to allow the flavors to meld and develop. If time allows, make the sauce a day or two ahead of when you plan to use it.

How To Use Carolina Barbeque Sauce

Marinade – This sauce works well as a marinade for chicken, pork, or other meats. Just be sure to reserve some for serving.

Dipping Sauce – This sauce is great for dipping chicken tenders, nuggets, or even fries. Its tangy, slightly sweet flavor adds a delicious twist to your favorite finger foods.

Salad Dressing – Transform your salads with a unique twist by using Carolina Gold BBQ sauce as a dressing. Mix it with olive oil and a touch of vinegar to create a vibrant and flavorful salad dressing. You can also simply thin it out with a bit of water or vinegar to achieve your desired consistency.

Sandwich Spread – Elevate your sandwiches by using Carolina Gold BBQ sauce as a spread. It pairs wonderfully with pulled pork, grilled chicken, or any sandwich filling, adding a delightful Southern flair to your meal.

Spoon being lifted out of a jar of Carolina BBQ Sauce.

Other Ways To Use This Golden Sauce

With its unique blend of zesty mustard, vinegar, sweetness, and aromatic spices, this versatile condiment has the power to elevate a wide array of dishes.

Burgers: Use it as a condiment for burgers to add a unique Southern flair.

Grilled Vegetables: Drizzle it over grilled vegetables, such as zucchini, bell peppers, or corn, to elevate their taste.

Hot Dogs: Try it as a topping for hot dogs or sausages for a gourmet twist on a classic favorite.

Grilled Shrimp: Brush it onto grilled shrimp or seafood for a coastal-inspired taste.

Barbecue Pizza: Use it as a base sauce for homemade barbecue pizza with your favorite toppings.

Pork Chops: Transform your pork chops into a mouthwatering delight by using this sauce as a glaze. Simply brush it onto the chops while grilling or pan-frying to infuse them with that irresistible Carolina Gold flavor.

Jar of Carolina BBQ sauce.

Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce

Experience the perfect blend of zesty mustard, vinegar, sweetness, and aromatic spices that define the bold flavors of Carolina barbecue.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 105kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cups yellow mustard
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • cup honey
  • cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • ½ teaspoon hot sauce adjust to taste
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • In a medium saucepan, whisk together yellow mustard, apple cider vinegar, honey, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce.
  • Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
  • Add garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, black pepper, and salt to the sauce. Continue to simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to allow the flavors to meld and the sauce to thicken slightly.
  • Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning and hot sauce according to your preference.

Notes

To make the barbecue sauce sweeter, add more honey. Start by adding a teaspoon or two, then taste and adjust. Honey will not only sweeten the sauce but also balance out the acidity of the vinegar.
For a thicker sauce, you can simmer it for a bit longer over low heat, allowing some of the liquid to evaporate and the sauce to reduce. If it is too thick, you can thin sauce by adding a bit of liquid. Water or vinegar are good choices for this purpose. Start by adding a small amount, such as a tablespoon at a time, and stir well. Continue to add liquid until you reach your desired consistency. Keep in mind that the sauce will thicken further as it cools, so it’s a good practice to slightly under-thin it if you plan to use it later.
If you like your sauce on the “tangy” side, you can increase the amount of apple cider vinegar. Start by adding an extra tablespoon or two at a time, then taste and adjust until you achieve your desired level of tanginess.
If you are a fan of all things spicy, you can adjust the level of heat in this recipe. As written, this sauce isn’t very spicy. However, if you are looking for some heat simply add more hot sauce. Start with a small amount and taste as you go, gradually increasing until you reach your desired level of heat. You can increase the heat even more by adding red pepper flakes.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 105kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 593mg | Potassium: 98mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 91IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg
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Please come back and tell us in the comment section below how your Carolina BBQ Sauce turned out!

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